‘Jesus Revolution’ has grossed $49 million in ticket sales so far—besting many of this year’s Oscar nominees.
Jesus was a revolutionary. What he taught turned the ancient world on its head. We can’t imagine believing what the ancients believed about the value of life, foregiveness, freedom, and equality---there were none. Western civilization is based on Christ’s teachings. Even if you are an atheist you believe in them. They are baked in our Constitution. And the early Christian church was the place where education, and care for the sick and poor happened, not the government. Government has usurped these roles as it shoved God into a corner. Look where that has gotten us. I am glad to see some in Hollywood are taking Jesus out of that corner and rediscovering his love and healing. We need them desperately.
Hollywood cut off conservative comment. Canceled anyone who dared to step out of the orthodoxy.
So, when you silence people - you also lose their creative input. But, who needs it?
You'll never learn anything from someone who agrees with you - that's the lesson to be learned.
I'm an atheist, but entirely happy for Christians to have their movies. Freedom of speech is tolerating the speech of those you disagree with.
A truly Free Press enables hope. Thank you for a breath of intellectual fresh air.
I appreciate the article, and I agree that Jesus Revolution is a step forward. But there’s still a giant problem with Christian, or faith-based, content.
It’s not just that it’s bad. God’s Not Dead was bad, and so was Facing the Giants and Fireproof and The War Room. It was actually a little shocking to see the creator you quoted marking God’s Not Dead as a breakthrough. It was really really bad.
I had been writing as a hobby, and when I saw God’s Not Dead with my youth group, I literally thought, “well, if this is what Christians make as art, I don’t think I can be both a writer and a Christian. I guess I’ll have to pick.”
The most important point is not simply that Christian content has a history of being bad. It’s that the content is bad because it’s dishonest. Freshmen don’t lead their professors to Jesus three weeks into class, and that professor doesn’t give up class time to argue with a student. Marriages don’t always work out.
Jesus Revolution gets close, and it’s a step in the right direction, but it still has giant swaths of dishonesty. Lonnie Frisbee had a lifelong struggle to reconcile his faith with his homosexuality, and died of AIDS. Chuck Smith’s church split after he predicted the end of the world would come one New Year’s Eve.
Honesty makes the story better, not worse. The Chosen is a good example. As is Scorsese’s Silence. It magnifies God more, as the brokenness that He steps into is far greater than we can imagine. Faith-based movies will always make money, because our folk turn out to see content that finally addresses them. But will they ever be actually good? Make an impact beyond the people like us in the theater?
Not until they’re honest.
My take on Jesus Revolution and Christian dishonesty can be found here.
You cannot understand Western civilization/culture without a solid knowledge of the Bible. It should be TAUGHT for historical/literary(not religious) reasons in public school. If you were to “study” and understand Saudi Arabia and ignore the Koran you would be foolish indeed
In addition to overt Christian films, Christian themes are evergreen for artistic expression: faith, love, redemption, devotion.
Although this is nothing new, the content coming from Hollywood is so increasingly filled with absolutely no morals or virtue. The White Lotus was so raunchy and vile I couldn’t stomach more than half an episode. Viewers want something that can give hope, that can provoke thought, that can uplift and change. I’m encouraged reading that maybe, just maybe, change will come.
There is nothing so inspiring as a person of true faith, who leads by quiet example.
We could use more of them in our troubled times.
As a professing Christian, I fear what happens when Hollywood gets ahold of Jesus. Life in Christ is complicated, messy, sacrificial, confusing, you name it. But it’s built on a foundation of hope through faith, which keeps the wobbly house described above standing. Hollywood will never portray that adequately because there’s always only one hero, the same one time and again, and he ain’t us. I wish all these folks well. Thank God (literally) that they finally are producing movies someone like me will return to the theater for. But these films are just entertainment. As with all relationships, reality is much stickier than fantasy, and one with Jesus isn’t crowd sourced. So I’ll continue to seek Christ in the midst of my little, loving, very human community in here in CT.
We have to search for - and find - whatever it takes to pull this nation back from the abyss. In some ways I hope the Alleged President's "administration" goes full bore against the people so they will get riled enough to stop them.
But more than anything else, we need a leader. The Orange Man has feet of the softest clay, but he's all we have right now. Maybe religion is the answer, and if so, this atheist is all-in. Whatever it takes, but we HAVE to define our national identity, set our standards, and stop the blue-haired soreheads and communists from derailing us. It's only a mission to save Everything That Ever Mattered.
I saw Jesus Revolution in a sold-out theater and loved it. Even if one isn’t Christian or religious it was an enjoyable and uplifting story that people need right now.
Faith is based on belief not identity.
It seems that with a society that's decided that's it's laughable to have faith in something greater than yourself, that the only alternative is a return to tribalism. Many it seems, reject tribalism but are looking for an alternative. Whether you are a believer or not, aspiring to something greater than yourself is very attractive and within limits, healthy
In a period where being part of a physical community has been replaced by staring with glazed eyes at Twitter/Tik Tok, Instagram, where proclaiming that “Math is racist” is considered a legitimate point of view, where what you choose to do with your genitals becomes a defining characteristic of your identity, it is easy to conclude that America has become a dystopian nightmare. This article inspires hope that this is not true.
As an aging Boomer, I grew up in the time after World War II where you started every school day with the Pledge of Allegiance, went to church/synagogue every Sunday and heard sermons that were all variations of the the Ten Commandments. This provided a framework of good/bad, right wrong, and acceptable/unacceptable behavior. You were part of a physical community. But then the 60’s arrived. Among many other changes, religion came under fire. Best personified by Madelyn Murray O’Hare’s crusade for atheism, the Crèche scene was disallowed in front of Churches, the Ten Commandments disappeared from the entrance to Courthouses, and Time magazine (a real magazine at the time) decided on a cover declaring “God is Dead”. This was replaced with “do your own thing”, “let it all hang out”, “power to the people”.
And now, 60 years later, here we are. The fact that these films are gaining popularity demonstrates that, increasingly, people are searching for a greater meaning in their life. There is hope for America after all.
I get Rainn Wilson's point.
White Christian preachers are almost always depicted in film and TV as Bible-thumping, Southern, gun-loving, repressed, wild-eyed zealots that hate gays but are secretly closeted or have inappropriate contact with minors or affairs with congregants or parishioners.
Conversely, Black preachers are almost always depicted as being in deep and joyous communion with their creator, welcoming any and all to their congregation.
I don't practice any religion and the loathsome term "spiritual" also doesn't apply to me, but I hate the way Christians and Catholics are depicted in media.
Thank you, I had no knowledge of these movies, nor the men and women producing them. Reading your piece this morning warmed this old man’s heart.
I graduated high school in 1970 and remember well the faith based movement of the time.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”